Do not pull plug on sexual abuse crisis line
26 May 2009
Plug must not be pulled on sexual abuse crisis line
Labour is calling on the Government to guarantee funding for the Auckland Sexual Abuse Help Foundation’s 24 hour crisis line, following confirmation that ACC has withdrawn funding for the service, says ACC spokesperson David Parker says.
“ACC has funded the service to the tune of about $350,000 a year, but has recently advised it that this funding will not be continued.
“The money is used to fund the 24 hour telephone crisis and rape call out service in Auckland. Counselling, advocacy and information service are also provided. The 8,500 people who call the help line will suffer if this important service dies,” David Parker says.
“It’s distressing to hear that ACC under this National Government has pulled the funding and put the future of the crisis line in jeopardy.
“The public should be worried if this is a sign of the type of cuts we can expect as a result of ACC Minister Nick Smith’s reforms.
“What is most important now however is that the Government gives an immediate commitment to continuing to fund the crisis line, regardless of whichever agency provides the money.
“Justice Minister Simon Power last week promised that the Budget would put ‘victims at the centre of the justice system’ through the establishment of his poorly thought-out, and expected to fail, offender’s levy.
“But now we find out that the survival of an agency already helping victims of rape and sexual abuse is now under threat,” Mr Parker says.
“Mr Power needs to commit to funding the crisis line immediately.
“The Government has already raised serious concern about its lack of commitment to issues affecting women by abolishing the Labour Department’s Pay and Equity Unit.
“Failing to ensure the survival of a crisis line for rape and sexual abuse survivors, most of whom are women, would be another example of this Government’s poor treatment of New Zealand women,” Mr Parker says.